Tip Tuesday – Buying Fabric

Here we are up to another sewing tip Tuesday. Today we are going to talk about “How to Buy Fabric.”

UNDERSTANDING THE FABRIC STORE: Typically the most prevalent fabric is going to be your basic cotton, also sometimes called Calico. Along at least one wall of the store you will see fabrics lined up by color. They are arranged like that for the quilter’s sake so they can easily find a color to go with a quilt they are making.

Throughout the entire store you will probably find many more cottons in a variety of styles and colors. There may be a baby section, designer fabrics, seasonal prints, etc. Just browse for what you are looking for as there are many great fabrics for blankets, aprons, pajamas and so many other things.

On another wall of the store you will probably find the fleece and plush fabrics. These are typically used for blankets, pajamas and other cozy things. These type of fabrics tend to be more expensive so make sure you have a coupon if they are not on sale. All of the major chains have printable coupons. All you need to do is google them.

You will see shelves and shelves of fabric and signs above them telling you what type of fabric it is. A few other types may be on large rolls which are the home decor fabrics and are very wide. In still another section are the lace and ribbon that you can buy by the yard. Just take them up with your fabric and have them cut at the same time. There will be a corner with interfacing and of course the areas with notions you may need to complete your project.


The first thing you need to do is look at the end of the bolt. You will find useful information there including the width of the fabric, washing instructions and the price.

Take your fabric and/or trims to the cutting counter and tell them how much you need (usually from your pattern). Normally the smallest amount they will cut is 1/8th of a yard. You can do any increment above that. Try and have your measurement figured our ahead of time. They will cut your fabric and give you a ticket. Then you take those to the register, along with your coupon to pay.


COTTONS OR CALICOS: 100% cotton fabrics will probably shrink and should be pre-washed and are going to be very plentiful at most stores.


HEAVYWEIGHT FABRICS LIKE DUCK, CANVAS, DENIM: These will be heavier than your basic cotton and more sturdy. They will hold up longer which makes them great for outdoor projects, throw pillows, totes or anything that needs a little weight to it.

PLUSH (like fleece and minky): Soft and cozy, perfect for blankets, pajamas and all things cuddly. They may pill a little after washing and some will have a nap to them which you need to take into account when measuring and cutting.Fleece

FLANNEL: Normally there will be a flannel section with solids and prints. It won’t be as thick as fleece. It’s more like a basic cotton, with one side that is soft to the touch. Soft and snuggle it will shrink and will also pill after a few washes. Use for pajamas, blankets and things that you don’t want to be bulky.

SPECIAL OCCASION FABRICS: There is always a section with these fabrics. It includes satins (soft and silky), tulle (like netting), and silks. These are usually for dresses and other fancy things. They can be a bit harder to sew on as they tend to be slippery. Be aware that many of them have to be dry cleaned as well.Fabricstore

JERSEY KNITS: Soft and stretchy like a t-shirt, can also be a bit harder to sew on because of the stretch. Knits often come in wider sizes so pay attention as you may need less fabric.

HOME DECOR: Typically on large rolls, wider and more expensive than other fabrics, but also much higher quality.



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